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30 Hours free childcare for 3 and 4 year olds

to be eligible

To be eligible for 30 hours free childcare, you (and your partner if you have one) must have a National Insurance number and at least one of the following: 

  • British or Irish citizenship 
  • settled or pre-settled status,  or been living in the UK before 1 January 2021 with the right to reside
  • permission to access public funds - your UK residence card will tell you if you cannot do this

You, and any partner, must each expect to earn (on average) at least £152 per week (equal to 16 hours at the National Minimum or Living Wage) each.

You, and any partner, must earn less than £100,000 a year each. 

In two-parent households, both parents must meet the requirements relating to employment and earnings but only one parent needs to meet the residence requirement.

You may be eligible if  you, or your partner, are on maternity, paternity or adoption leave.

You may still be eligible if your partner is working, and you get Incapacity Benefit, Severe Disablement Allowance, Carer’s Allowance or contribution-based Employment and Support Allowance.

when can I access 30 hours

You need to apply the term before you want to take up a place.

If your child is already 3 and you apply for your code now, they can get their 30 hours from the beginning of the next term.

If your child turns 3 between 1 January and 31 March – they can get a 30 hour place from April but only if you applied for your code before 31 March. If your child turns 3 between 1 April and 31 August – they can get a 30 hour place from September but only if you applied for your code before 31 August. If your child turns 3 between 1 September and 31 December – they can get a 30 hour place from January but only if you applied for your code before 31 December
what isn't covered?

The 30 hours free childcare offer is not intended to cover the costs of meals, other consumables (such as nappies or sun cream), additional hours or additional activities (such as trips). Providers may charge a fee for these additions. If you choose to pay for these it is an arrangement between you and the childcare provider. However, you must not be required to pay any fee as a condition of taking up a 30 hours place, and must be offered alternative options.